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Victim’s Testimony in Rape and Sexual Assault

Published: Friday, February 26, 2021

NWC submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice

NWC welcomes the opportunity to input into the Justice Committees consideration of a ‘victim’s testimony in cases of rape and sexual assault’. NWC’s comments reflect the lived experiences of the women that we have worked with and that have contacted us in huge numbers over many years. Rape and sexual assault are forms of gender-based violence . While women, men and children can be victims of rape and sexual assault, the perpetrators are predominantly men and women are disproportionately the victims . One in five women in Ireland have been raped in their lifetime, this compares with one in ten men . Younger women are at an even greater risk of rape and sexual assault. The NUIG Sexual Experiences Survey (2020) found that nearly one in three female students had experienced rape while at college . There are clear differences in female and male vulnerability to sexual violence. Where male vulnerability to sexual violence decreases as they age, female vulnerability does not decrease to the same extent. One in five women and one in ten men have experienced sexual assault in adulthood. In drafting this submission, we were cognisant of the significant reform that is currently underway in the form of the implementation of the O’Malley Review through the Department of Justice’s strategy ‘Supporting a Victim’s Journey’. NWC and its members are engaging with and assisting the Department, to ensure the these substantial reforms are driven from the perspective of the victims and survivors. Our submission focuses on two core areas: contextualising a victim’s testimony and special measures to improve a victim’s testimony. The submission concludes with a broader recommendation on the needed reforms of trial rules and processes that impact significantly on a victim-survivors experience of the trial process.

Download file: Victim’s Testimony in Rape and Sexual Assault